Marketing is one the most important aspects of business success. After all, 100% of your revenue comes from customers and every other cash inflow comes at a cost, whether that’s equity to investors or interest owed to lenders. Revenue is free money and ensuring sufficient revenue to cover expenses is necessary to stay in business. It doesn’t matter how good your business does at meeting customer needs, if they don’t know about your products, can’t afford them, or don’t have access to purchase them (the other 3 Ps of marketing), you’ll fail. And, marketing effectively, while sharing some commonalities across industries, does mean adapting your strategy to your product and market. Thus, today, we discuss how to market your trucking business effectively.
When you market your trucking business, you need not only general marketing advice but specifics for the transportation industry. For instance, a host of regulations impact how you operate a transportation business, especially if you operate between states as you now face federal regulations from the US FTC (Federal Trade Commission) that impact marketing elements such as pricing. You also need MC number trucking to operate interstate.
To get you started as you market your trucking business, here are some tactics to consider.
How to market your trucking business
1. Research your audience
A huge mistake that a lot of trucking businesses make is to jump deep into marketing without understanding the basics, such as their audience or target customer. Knowing how to market your trucking business means knowing your prospects and an advantage for B2B businesses is they often make large sales to a few large customers; making it easy to target specific firms for your marketing efforts.
Attracting one wholesaler might net more than you already make in a year if your marketing convinces them you provide a better value than your competitors. That means you need to take a deep look into your audience to see what they want from you and what factors they find wanting in their existing transportation firm.
Armed with this information, you can target them with more effective messaging through your sales force, email marketing, and social media — see below for more on these tactics to market your trucking business.
To the uninitiated, social media seems like the tool for individuals and businesses focusing on end-users, especially CPG (consumer packaged goods). Not so. In fact, some of the most successful brands on social media are in the B2B (business-to-business) space, brands like IBM, Raytheon, and Novartis.
Hence, the very first and the most important thing you should do is to take advantage of the internet, especially social media because it’s very inexpensive compared to other types of advertising and successful when done right. Using social networks, you can easily cater to your audience and put your services right in front of them using different social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Make sure that you have active profiles on these platforms and you keep interacting with your customers so that you build an engaged following.
Now, you might ask what you should post considering trucking isn’t the sexiest of industries. The key is to recognize the value you provide since most goods travel by truck during at least part of their journey. Posting about the value you provide is a great way to get consumers to engage with you, which helps you reach the kinds of people responsible for booking transportation. After all, they’re also consumers.
Another strategy that works well for B2B brands is to post about the brands they want to attract as customers. For instance, if a target customer does some great community outreach, such as staffing a food bank, applaud their efforts on your social platforms. Since most brands listen for brand mentions, they’ll find your post and you now have a leg up when trying to sell them. Everyone likes accolades.
3. Ask your customers for reviews and recommendations
When you are running a business, whether it is in the transportation or the food industry, your customers are your biggest assets. If you figure out how to use your customers the right way, you can make huge profits. If your customers aren’t reviewing or recommending your business to other people, you should ask them to do so.
Customer reviews should appear prominently on your website and shared ubiquitously on your social platforms. Don’t be afraid to ask customers to post reviews on their own social platforms, as well.
A good salesperson never leaves a prospect or customer without asking for recommendations of other businesses that would benefit from your services. Make this a part of every sales call using sales training like role-playing to make this a standard part of your marketing. Periodically, especially after a completed run, ask customers to recommend other businesses by including a short statement on your invoice. Offer incentives for recommendations so that the more people they bring in, the more discount they get. It is going to work in your favor a lot as you can easily earn back the money you spend on incentives.
Asking for recommendations and reviews offers a huge boon to your sales, and, within a few weeks, you’ll see an uptick in requests for bids.
4. Set up drip campaigns
Unlike customer sales that often bear fruit in a single visit, B2B sales often take time to blossom. Setting up a drip campaign implemented through email marketing offers great opportunities to close new business or ensure you get the next RFP request sent by the prospect.
Not familiar with how businesses manage their RFP process, check out this graphic.
As you can see, this process involves distributing RFP’s to a network. Getting your business into that network provides access to winning new business.
5. Offer special incentives to loyal customers
As I mentioned before, your customers are your bread and butter, which is why you must pay as much attention to them as possible. The best way to motivate your customers to bring in new prospects and to keep them as customers is to offer them some incentives. On top of that, you should also create a business culture showing that you truly care about your loyal customers by offering them special discounts and ensuring their satisfaction.
For instance, a B2B client recognized customers were dissatisfied with his services as he kept losing them to competitors. To address the issue, he offered to let customers discount their invoices by the amount represented by the poor service they received. In return, he asked them to let him know what he could do better. Within a few weeks, he identified the underlying causes behind his service failures and fixed them. Soon, his customers’ stopped discounting their invoices because they didn’t find fault with his service.
6. Make a proper website
In this modern age of technology, an online presence is a must if you want to reel in customers. You must understand that traditional marketing is a thing of the past; slowly accounting for less of your marketing budget. You must make digital marketing a core part of your effort so that you build and sustain your market.
Start by making a proper website about your business containing all information about the trucking services you offer, reviews, an email subscription list, and other key elements such as your mission and commitment to the community. You might even offer an interactive tool to schedule pickups and calculate prices so customers know exactly what to expect and can arrange both transportation and payment with a few clicks.
Having information and tools in one place saves a lot of time for your customers, and ensures they don’t have to go through a lot of trouble if they want to avail themselves of your services.
With proper SEO and content marketing strategies, you’ll drive new visits to your website to increase your revenue.
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Hausman and Associates, the publisher of MKT Maven, is a full-service marketing agency operating at the intersection of marketing and digital media. Check out our full range of services.